CoC funds may not be used to cover late rent payment fees. The Interim Rule at § 578.51 indicates that CoC rental assistance funding may be used to cover rent, security deposit, property damage, vacancy, and staff costs of administering rental assistance (e.g., contracting for the units or inspecting the units) -- late rent payment fees are absent among the enumerated eligible costs.
General liability insurance is eligible as Administrative costs per Interim Rule § 578.59(a)(1)(iv).
The CoC regulations do not comment on how prorated rent should be calculated and therefore the governing law for prorating rent for tenants in CoC programs in Santa Clara County should come from the California landlord-tenant law provisions in the California Civil Code and local governing municipal law.
The convention on proration of rent in California is to calculate the rate based on a 30-day month, regardless of the actual days in a given month. It is done this way because the California Civil Code states that tenancies default to month-to-month arrangements, and 30 days is how the code defines the month notice required to terminate these tenancies (See CA Civil Code Sections 1945 and 1946)
HUD considers the unit to have been vacated after the program participant has been out of the unit for 90 consecutive days. At which point, rental assistance can only be made for up to 30 days from the end of the month in which the unit was vacated.
For example, if the program participant is out of the unit from March 11, 2019 and is still not back in the unit by June 10, 2019, the last payment to the landlord will be for July 2019. No other payments beyond July 2019 can be provided with CoC funds.
Under the CoC interim rule, utility deposits are an eligible cost under the Supportive Services budget line item. This form of assistance consists of paying for utility deposits, which must be a one-time fee, paid directly to a utility company. 24 CFR § 578.53(e)(16). HUD rules do not limit this to be for one particular type of utility, so gas, electric, or water would qualify.
While § 578.53(e)(16) of the interim rule relates specifically to deposits, § 578.53(e)(8) is broader and allows programs to cover the costs of "securing utilities" in order to assist eligible participants to locate, obtain, and retain suitable housing, which would include expenses associated with shut-off notices or reconnection fees.
CoC regulations do not have restrictions on how many security deposits can be paid on behalf of a client. However, every program should have policies and procedures to outline this information as it may be restricted by other factors such as the program budget.
CoC regulations will allow for overlapping rent to be paid in the event that a client is moving from one unit to another.
For example, in Tenant Based Rental Assistance (TBRA), a landlord can be paid for rent for up to 30 days after a client vacates a unit, if they vacated prior to the end of the lease. Therefore, if a tenant vacates a unit on June 14th, the landlord can keep the remaining funds for June 15-30th.
If this same client moves into a new unit on June 12th and needs a security deposit and prorated rent from June 12-30th. Both can be paid with CoC funds.
The registration with the local police department does not constitute a compliant third-party verification. Verification from a member of law enforcement (as with other services providers such as health care professionals) must include the approximate date(s) when the officer encountered the individual and must also provide details regarding the encounter, either:
- A description of the conditions where the individual was residing that documents that the individual was residing in a place not meant for human habitation
- A description of the conversation the officer had with the individual that led the officer to believe to the best of their knowledge and based on their professional judgment that the individual was residing in a place not meant for human habitation
Please see HUD FAQ 2760.
Community member observations may not be used to document Category 1 homelessness. However, community members can serve as third party verification if they are verifying specific months of chronic homelessness.
There is nothing in the CoC regulations that would prevent an otherwise eligible student from participating in a CoC funded program.
CoC programs must document that the household is homeless when they are enrolled in the program and at which time can begin looking for housing. The program does not need to re-evaluate the homeless status of the household at the time in which the household moves into housing.
The Office of Supportive Housing, Continuum of Care team are responsible for the monitoring of the CoC programs. All programs are monitored on an annual basis as required under 24 CFR part 578.23 (c)(8).
The CoC Program Interim Rule § 578.75(b) requires all CoC-funded leasing and rental assistance to meet the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) laid out in 24 CFR 982.401.
These HQS require that "rooms used for sleeping" have the following:
- Working electricity, including two outlets or one outlet and one permanently installed ceiling or wall fixture (such as a ceiling light)
- Enough natural or artificial light to make sure tenants can carry out normal indoor activities
- Ceilings, walls, and floors
- Basic security
- No lead-based paint hazards
- At least one window. Windows that are accessible from the outside, either because they are less than 6 feet from the ground or because there is a fire escape or other means of reaching them, must be lockable. Windows that are designed to open must work.
A unit must be determined to be rent reasonable before CoC funds can be used to provide assistance. Leasing or rental assistance funds must comply with rent reasonableness as referenced by 24 CFR 578.49 and 24 CFR 578.51.
If the unit is not rent reasonable, the program participant cannot move forward with the unit in the CoC funded program.
Rent reasonableness must be completed at move-in and at any time after that in which the amount changes, regardless of whether it goes up or down.
If a unit is deemed to not be rent reasonable due to a rent decrease/increase, the program will no longer be able to use CoC funds to provide rental assistance for the unit. The program participant can choose to remain in the unit independently without support from the program. Or the program participant will have to relocate to a new unit that meets the rent reasonableness requirements.